An American Airlines flight attendant has been arrested for allegedly making an attempt to secretly report a 14-year-old lady utilizing the plane’s toilet on a flight to Boston, in response to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The 37-year-old man, Estes Carter Thompson III, of Charlotte, N.C., can also be accused of getting recordings of 4 different lady passengers utilizing plane bathrooms from earlier flights.
The FBI arrested Thompson in Virginia on Thursday.
“The deeply disturbing conduct alleged here is something no parent or child should ever have to worry about when they travel,” Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy stated in an announcement. “Mr. Thompson allegedly used his place to prey on and surreptitiously report harmless youngsters, together with unaccompanied minors, whereas in a weak state aboard flights he was working.
“Everyone – especially children – should feel safe and secure as airline passengers, and parents should feel comfortable traveling with their children,” Levy added. “Protecting children is a paramount priority for this office and we will aggressively investigate and hold accountable people who victimize children.”
Thompson was charged with one depend of tried sexual exploitation of youngsters and one depend of possession of kid pornography depicting a prepubescent minor.
Thompson will stay in custody pending his preliminary look within the Western District of Virginia. He will seem in federal court docket in Boston at a later date.
“Today, the FBI arrested Estes Carter Thompson III after he repeatedly targeted unsuspecting children to sexually exploit them for his own gratification,” stated Jodi Cohen, particular agent answerable for the FBI Boston Division. “What Mr. Thompson is accused of doing is disgraceful, and we imagine, calculated, provided that this alleged conduct occurred on not less than 5 flights.
“This case should make it crystal clear that the FBI takes crimes aboard aircraft and the sexual exploitation of children seriously,” Cohen added. “If you’ve been the victim of a crime aboard an aircraft or have witnessed one take place, we ask you to report it to both your flight crew and the FBI.”
According to the charging paperwork, Thompson was working as a flight attendant onboard an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Boston on Sept. 2, 2023.
About halfway by means of the flight, the alleged sufferer acquired up to make use of the primary cabin toilet nearest to the place she was seated. When the lady arrived on the toilet, it was occupied.
After she had been ready for a short while, Thompson allegedly approached her and advised her that the first-class toilet was unoccupied and escorted her towards firstclass. Then earlier than the lady entered the lavatory, Thompson allegedly advised her that he wanted to clean his palms and that the bathroom’s bathroom seat was damaged, and he briefly entered the bathroom.
“It is alleged that, after Thompson exited the lavatory, the minor victim entered and observed red stickers on the underside of the toilet seat lid, which was in the open position, that stated, ‘INOPERATIVE CATERING EQUIPMENT’ and ‘REMOVE FROM SERVICE,’ and ‘SEAT BROKEN’ was hand-written in black ink on one of the stickers,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote.
Beneath the crimson stickers, Thompson allegedly hid his iPhone to report a video. The lady used her cellphone to take an image of the crimson stickers and the hid iPhone she discovered within the toilet earlier than exiting. Then Thompson allegedly re-entered the lavatory.
When the lady returned to her seat, she advised her dad and mom what she noticed and confirmed them the image. The lady’s dad and mom reported the matter to different flight attendants onboard who notified the captain — who then alerted regulation enforcement on the bottom.
The lady’s father confronted Thompson, who then locked himself within the toilet along with his iPhone for 3 to 5 minutes previous to the flight’s descent.
Upon the flight’s arrival at Boston Logan, regulation enforcement noticed that Thompson’s iPhone might have been restored to manufacturing unit settings. Police searched his suitcase and allegedly discovered 11 “INOPERATIVE CATERING EQUIPMENT” stickers.
Also, a search of Thompson’s iCloud account allegedly revealed 4 extra cases between January and August 2023 by which Thompson recorded a minor utilizing the bathroom on an plane. The ladies allegedly depicted within the secret recordings had been 7, 9, 11 and 14 years outdated.
More than 50 photos of a 9-year-old unaccompanied minor had been allegedly present in Thompson’s iCloud. The photos included photographs taken whereas the minor sufferer was seated in her seat pre-flight and close-ups of her face whereas sleeping.
Hundreds of photos of AI-generated baby pornography had been additionally discovered saved on Thompson’s iCloud account.